SEP 2018

ConventionSouth magazine is the leading resource for meeting planners who book all types of events, conventions, conferences and group travel in the south.

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S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8 ²ConventionSouth ² w w w . c o n v e n t i o n s o u t h . c o m 25 Cathy Breden, the CEO for the Center for Ex- hibition Industry Research, explained that with current trade show trends, the attendee experience is one of the most important factors. "There is more focus on designing a customized experience for attendees and more focus than ever on creat- ing engagement between exhibitors and attendees at the event," she said. Expo! Expo!, the annual International As- sociation of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) gathering, is all about presenting an atmosphere of immersion for attendees, who include exhibi- tion and events industry professionals. Held last November in San Antonio, Texas, and scheduled for New Orleans Dec. 11 – 13, IAEE's annual meeting and exhibition delivers a bevy of learn- ing environments for attendees to experience the products, not just hear about them. "The Expo! Expo! show floor consists of four theatres, offering four micro-learning opportu- nities in audio-visual solutions, ask the expert, start-up technology and global business," Breden said. "Expo! Expo! has many customized net- working and education experiences – Journeys – for several interest groups and learner levels." Greensboro, N.C., a destination that's long been popular for trade shows and expos, is seeing a lot of trends towards engaging attendees: "In recent trade shows, more sessions are being held on the tradeshow floor along with meals being served on the tradeshow floor," said Ava Pope, director of sales for the Greensboro CVB. She added that these extra elements help to keep at- tendees present and focused on the products. "Another benefit is that Greensboro's location is ideal for any size event," Pope said. We are easily accessible by rail, Piedmont Triad Interna- tional Airport (PTIA) and a host of highways. We are also a mere five hours away from Washing- ton, D.C. and Atlanta." With many long-standing trade shows held at the Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center, Marketing Manager Jennifer Strum has seen an emphasis on attendee experi- ence in several elements that stand out at these events. "The meetings and conventions industry FRQWLQXHVWRHYROYHDQGÀRXULVKZLWKWKHODWHVW and greatest trends in food and beverage, technol- ogy, audio-visual production and more," she said. "The trends we see at the Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center typically run the gamut. How- ever, the recent focus for meeting planners is the experiential 'wow factor' of their events. Now more than ever, meeting professionals want attendees to truly immerse themselves in an event, setting the bar even higher for memorable guest experiences." The Fort Lauder- dale International Auto Show has been held at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center since it opened in 1991. "At this year's show, one of the most popular car shows in Florida, more than 500 cars, trucks, SUVs and motorcycles ¿OOHGWKHH[KLELWKDOOV´6WUXPVDLG³7KHVKRZLV unique in that it offers the public opportunities to test drive popular sports cars, sedans, SUVs and minivans, and meet with dealers to discuss prices DQGWHUPVULJKWWKHUHRQWKHVKRZÀRRU$FWLYLWLHV that engaged attendees include networking oppor- tunities where guests could meet and chat with experts in the industry and manufacturers could meet with customers and clients of all varieties and sizes." The United States Institute for Theatre Tech- nology (USITT) "offered networking events such as the international reception, regional breakfasts, and opening night and VIP cocktail hours for at- tendees to connect. It also provided a platform for mentorship programs, allowing industry veterans to pass on their skills and knowledge to the next generation of live entertainment professionals," she said. With two stages on the Stage Expo ÀRRURIIHULQJFRQIHUHQFHVHVVLRQVPDQXIDFWXUHU trainings and demos, Strum said that "each day, there were more than a dozen 75- to 90-minute training sessions on lighting and audio consoles. Additionally, there was a props lab where attend- ees got hands-on experience with the best scenic designers and prop masters in the business." Technology Boosts Engagement Technology plays a huge role in today's trade Ź FEATURE: TRADE SHOWS & EXPO HALLS High tech experience at Expo! Expo! Corporate Events in Greensboro, N.C. IAEE

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